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On qualifying for the ballot

The Chron editorializes on the matter of disqualified candidates for the Council special election. I basically agree with their conclusion:

[K]nocking qualified hopefuls out of a race over minor technicalities is neither in the interests of the democratic process nor the spirit, if not the letter, of the law.

I refer you again to the applications themselves (PDF). While there do need to be some standards about completing these forms, I say again that any reasonable person could look at this and see that the unfilled blanks in the oath don’t render any confusion about who’s swearing to what. There should be a grace period for fixing this sort of oops. If the candidate meets the real requirements for holding the office – e.g., is a registered voter living in Houston and has paid the fee or collected enough signatures – then sloppy paperwork should not be an intractable barrier. I don’t know what the court will ultimately rule in Ray Jones’ lawsuit, to which the city is supposed to respond by 2 PM, but in a fair world he’d be on the ballot.

Having said that, I have to ask: Didn’t Jones’ notary (and Darryn Call’s, for that matter) notice the blanks that needed filling on this form? I’ve used a notary before (my mother-in-law happens to be one, though I used someone else’s services for this), and in each case I was specifically instructed to fill in all the applicable blanks before I affixed my to-be-notarized signature. I realize that anyone can be a notary, but you’d think that this sort of thing would be habitual and instinctive for them. How is it that the same stupid mistake was made by two different notary publics? I’m a little boggled by that.

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One Comment

  1. Charles Hixon says:

    Maybe it is that the city wants to use the form to help filter out any more potential Sekula-Gibbs types.